Wildlands Trust - Stewart/Person Preserve, 24 Sylvia Place Rd, Kingston, MA 02364, USA
Owned By: Wildlands Trust
A mile of woodland trails extend around two former mill ponds at this enchanting 27-acre property. Keep your eye on this spot. After a 14-year planning process, the dam that holds the pond in place is slated for removal in 2022 or 2023 (pending one final piece of funding). Removing the dams will positively, and significantly, impact fish passage in the Jones River watershed!
Well-tended trails offer up-close views of a woodland stream, a historic fish ladder, and two mill ponds, where an abundance of wildlife thrives. The soil is rich in iron. Look for spots where a rust-brown color appears in the stream beds.
Milling operations began here in the mid-1700s, and included a cannonball mill, a tack mill and a shoe factory. The three operations were known collectively as Millgate. A series of dams and water wheels provided power.
The herring ladder was constructed in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. It was restored by the Wildlands Trust in 1981. It helps migratory fish to swim upstream through the ponds to their spawning grounds at Russell Pond.
13.3 acres of this property were donated to the Wildlands Trust in 1975 by O. Wellington Stewart and Gertrude H. Stewart. An additional 13.48 acres were donated in 2011 by Martin B. Person Jr. and Joan Person.
The Patuxet, members of the Wampanoag tribe, made their home in the area now known as Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth. Numerous artifacts have been found throughout the region surrounding the Jones River.
From the informational kiosk, the trail extends past the remains of a mill and into the woods, first along the edge of Bryant Mill Pond, then across a wooden bridge, and all the way around Sylvia Place Pond. There is an additional loop trail through the wooded upland on a slope above Sylvia Place Pond. There is another bridge on the far side of the pond, with the trail continuing along the water’s edge. You can then loop back around to the kiosk, or head downhill, past an old fish ladder, along the banks of a stream, to the other side of Bryant Mill Pond. A short walk up Sylvia Place Road completes the approx. 1-mile circuit.
Habitats and Wildlife
There are two types of woodlands here. The upland forest features white pine, black oak, white oak, and beech trees, plus five species club moss! The swampy lowland is home to red maple, yellow birch, white ash and sweet pepper bush. Around the ponds, look for high-bush blueberry, alder, swamp azalea, and dogwood.
Fish commonly found here include bass, perch and pickerel. The fish ladder assists migratory species in reaching their spawning grounds farther upstream at Russell Pond. Mammal and avian species observed here include white-tailed deer, otter, red fox, mink, opossum, great blue heron, osprey, thrush, red-crested woodpecker, northern oriole, scarlet tanager, and wood duck.
Russell Pond lies upstream of this property. It flows into the eastern end of Sylvia Place Pond, which in turn flows into Bryant Mill Pond, and then into Soule’s Pond. From Soule’s Pond, water flows into Furnace Brook, then into the Jones River, emptying into Kingston Bay.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 27 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited roadside parking on Sylvia Place Road.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Benches, footbridges, informational kiosk, historic fish ladder.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Furnace Brook / Jones River watershed